Thoughts on Viernes…08172012 (Sabado Edition)

Voters Will Decide Metro Proposition on November Ballot, Too

The way the Chron describes it:

The Metropolitan Transit Authority board agreed Friday to ask voters in November to continue an agency program that funds road projects for local governments, with provisions to return certain funds to Metro after 2014.

The board voted 8-1 for a measure that, if approved by voters, would continue the so-called General Mobility Program in its current form, allocating a quarter of Metro’s 1-cent sales tax to Harris County, Houston and 14 small cities in Metro’s service area. The local governments use these funds for road and bridge projects.

However, the payments would be capped at 2014 levels, and any growth in revenues from October 2014 through December 2025 would be split evenly between Metro and the other jurisdictions. Another referendum on whether to continue the payments would be required prior to Dec. 31, 2025.

If voters reject the ballot measure, the payments would stop and Metro would retain all its sales tax proceeds.

According to METRO Chairman Gilbert Garcia, who visited a group of us bloggers today, the increased revenue will not be used for rail projects, but to pay down short-term debt and to increase ridership with the purchase of more buses and more shelters. Garcia added that the availability of a shelter actually increases ridership by 30 riders, so, with 1000 shelters, METRO stands to significantly improve its bus service.

Some may be concerned about the future of the University rail line; however, Garcia stated that METRO’s financial house must be in order before moving forward. I will say, though, that, as someone who resides a few blocks from the Hillcroft Transit Center, the University Line would be a welcome addition to my neighborhood.

So, folks, we have yet another measure to vote on in November. I’ll get back to you to see where I fall on this.

Weekend Activities:

Fort Bend Democratic Party HQ Grand Opening – Saturday, 8/18 at 5:30. 4103 Main Street, Stafford, TX. This one is down the road from me.

Texas Dem Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa is in Montgomery County today if you’re up in points north of here.

Enjoy the weekend!

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